Now that your sparkling new swimming pool is fully installed, your next priority is a natural one: swimming pool landscaping. You definitely want to make an effort to help your pool blend into its surroundings, allowing it to become a pivotal part of a much larger whole. A lot of success in this area will come down to what you choose to plant around your swimming pool. You’ll want plants that will thrive and maybe even offer you some shade on those hot summer days of the year, while also being low maintenance. When it comes to this particular goal, there are a few key things to keep in mind.

Creating the perfect poolscape is all about finding the balance between functional space, the right furniture and of course plant life.

Pool Friendly Plants

According to the Swimming Pool and Spa Association, a plant must have a few key characteristics if it can be officially classified as “pool friendly.” They should be able to thrive in an environment where wind and salt exposure are expected, for example. They should also be capable of thriving in either a semi-shaded area or a full sun area, the specifics of which will obviously vary depending on your environment.

They should also be highly tolerant to exposure to chlorine and other pool chemicals, which is particularly common in the area immediately surrounding your pool. Because of this, options like pineapple sage, peach leaved bellflower, swamp daisy and Ajuga are the way to go.

Shrubs can also make a great addition to your swimming pool landscaping, with options like Siberian Iris, Mexican Orange Blossom and Mexican Mock Orange being popular selections all across the country.

These are certainly not your only options, however. A few of the other types of plants that you can include in your swimming pool landscaping include but are not limited to ones like:

  • Bull Banksia
  • Blueberry Ash
  • Native Fuchsia
  • Holly Leaved Grevillea
  • Waxflower
  • Australe Storksbill
  • Himalayan Dogwood
  • Prostrate Grevillea
  • Native Plants Pool-friendly

Pool friendly plants share common characteristics such as low maintenance, little or no pruning, and high drought tolerance. If you have a salt chlorinated pool they need to be salt tolerant in case of water splashing. Depending on the location of the pool, you plant choice may be dictated by the environment in terms of privacy, wind factor, or ground coverage.

For screening: If privacy is a concern, consider the following to create a natural, low maintenance screen that will mature over the years. Laurus nobilus-Bay Laurel, Olea Europa- Olive tree and Banksia marginata- Coastal Banksia.

For mid-level planting: Consider Gardenia species, Westringea fruiticosa-Coastal rosemary, Rosemarinus officianalis-Rosemary, Cycas revoluta-Cycad and Philodendron ‘Xanadu’.

For ground cover: Consider Trachylospermum asiaticum-Star jasmine, Ophiopogon japonicus-Mondo grass, Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’-Silver dichondra, Senecio serpens-Blue chalk sticks and Nepeta species-Catmint.

Plants To Avoid

No matter whether it is a plunge pool or a lap pool it requires little maintenance. Unless you require maintenance in your life, it is recommended you avoid plants that shed regularly. Deciduous plants are still okay, as they only require one large clean up session per year, whereas evergreens will require year round maintenance. The key to planting success is to select plants that don’t require regular pruning, or those that don’t shed berries or needles. You’ll also want to avoid anything that will drop leaf litter onto your pool or the surrounding area, meaning that anything that hangs overhead just won’t do.

Along the same lines, there are a number of plants that you’ll want to avoid as they have a potential to damage your pool surrounds via their root systems. Bamboo is one of these species, according to the Swimming Pool and Spa Association. Umbrella trees and rubber trees should also be on your “under no circumstances” list, as they very commonly cause problems with pools in particular due to things like underground plumbing and paving.

Your new swimming pool should be an inviting, family friendly environment; therefore it is unwise to plant anything spiky. These plants are often spiky as a natural defense meaning you will need to keep your distance. Pool users won’t appreciate dodging spikes on their way to the water and likewise it will make pool maintenance that much harder for yourself.

The function of the pool will dictate what can and can’t be planted with a view to maintenance and user friendliness. The above list of plants is a comprehensive, but by no means exhaustive, list of plants that experience has shown us are good or bad options to use in your pool landscaping. Consultation with a professional pool designer or landscaper will ensure the creation of an accurate planting design suitable for your individual pool project.

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